I threw a temper tantrum on eBay

Aside from the agony and self torture I put myself through when I know I’ve done something wrong,  after sitting down with myself for some serious self  introspection I’ve come to realize that it’s more than just a tantrum.  It’s that I lost faith in my own self and as a result I allowed myself to succumb to fear which,  turned inward becomes anger.    Anger is never good.  How very self destructive.

Ebay can be very stressful for  small businesses and I wonder how many others experience the same anger in their journey, be it on their way back up from a fall, fighting to find a new niche or just getting started?

If I [we] allow it to become a pattern then I’ll [we’ll] always fail…. even when I [we] don’t.  That’s the outcome of my self introspection following my tantrum,  but what was my tantrum about?  Something so simple.  Lack of patience.  I owe @DevinWenig an apology as well as @AskeBay an apology.  I’m probably being harsh with myself and they’re probably used to it but this doesn’t make it right.  It makes a miserable environment that potentially can get me into trouble with eBay.  If I’m depending on eBay for my livelihood, and if I’m genuinely thankful for the opportunity to be my own boss, work at my own pace, sometimes in my pajamas, have an unlimited earning potential and a bright future, then why am I creating my own roadblocks?

My temper tantrum was this;  I became a snot nosed child throwing puff punches at eBay for no other reason than I can’t control EVERYTHING.  I can micromanage every aspect of my life, I can be a controlling girlfriend, I can be a controlling pet owner, but what I can’t be is controlling of eBay.  It drives CRAZY!!  Crazy lady comin’ through!

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In my defense, the bidding didn’t look like this [above] when I threw the tantrum.  It looked something more like this [below]…

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..and this is why I lost control of my sanity.  The thing of it is this; when I run auctions, which is mostly what I do as opposed to “Buy it Now”, I know that the bidders will bid the item up (or down) to it’s resale market value.  I may think the end result is wrong, but the truth is,  the buyers/bidders drive the market.  I know this.

I know my product.  I’d like to think I choose my products wisely.  I’d also like to think I know it all.  What’s great about eBay is what’s driving me insane.  It’s that I can control nothing {insert grrrr noise here} in a life where I control everything…. but my temper.  I can be such an asshole… but lets get past that and move on to what I’ve learned.

For home based eBay businesses, especially those with limited storage space, auctions really are the best way to survive and earn a living.  There are variables that come into play, and having to compete with cheap Chinese knockoffs or an over saturated market in a very competitive niche has very little to do with it.

My niche is fashion.  I love fashion.  I know fashion.  I have an entire eBay careers worth of experience with fashion.  While I don’t know everything there is to know about fashion, I’m smart enough to conduct searches through eBay’s completed auctions section to find out what’s selling.   I don’t watch T.V. but I do watch YouTube videos, social media videos around the web and news videos.  All of the women I see in the videos have one important fact in common and that is that they all wear clothing as do the women at the cash register as I’m reading the tag lines of Vogue Magazine, Cosmo and all of the Rag Mags.  If I’m in a long line I’ll grab one and start browsing.  If I see something interesting, I’ll buy the magazine.  One need not be very bright to do this.

What I’m saying is, if you know your product and you proactively seek out new information, it really is impossible to fail.  But then there’s more.  What days do the average, mainstream Americans get paid?  Do their shopping?  Do their browsing and bookmarking?  There’s a synchronicity to it.

…and last but not least (lesson learned), stay… away… from the eBay community message boards.  The majority of the people who post messages are posting them in angst.  They are impatient too.  They are venting, being negative, spreading false information, often insulting to one another, sometimes passively, sometimes aggressively, but most important, they are affecting your psyche.  Misery loves company.  If they are down, they want you to be down too.  If you read it enough, it begins to set in.  Don’t let it set in.  Just don’t read it.  Take it out of your bookmarks.  Forget it exists.  Think of it this way, when is the last time you saw one of the larger, more financially fit businesses hanging out and posting?  They are busy being financially fit what is what the rest of us should be doing.

Yesterday was for learning.  The day before was for practice.  Today is for taking the trophy.  It’s an old saying my gymnastics coach drilled in my head when I was a kid.  It’s stuck with me all my life.

So in the end, my zero bid blouse sold for it’s resale market value.  I allowed myself to forget what I know and I grew impatient.  Bidding usually doesn’t gain momentum daily.  Auctions are awesome and for the most part, if done with forethought, turn out right 🙂

Crossing the world with a stranger

Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.
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I’m a small town girl and would never have experienced world travel had I not met the most wonderful couple in a thrift store.  Girls like me aren’t fortunate enough to experience the finest things in life but today all of that changed, if only for an hour or two.

As I walked in it’s grungy doors my eyes were immediately drawn to the “collectibles” department where the isles were freshly restocked.  There was very expensive pieces of pottery, dishes and ceramics, each having a makers mark from all parts of the world.  There were Starbucks mugs from several different states, some had dates, others were holiday mugs.   After inspecting all of them I realized they all came from the same place and  as I toured the store I realized that these were the the belongings of an elderly couple whose  remnants told a story of great love, extensive travel and what I perceived to be a very sudden and sad ending..   but the story in and of itself was one of the most beautiful stories that could ever be told.

As a young couple, they loved to travel.  They vacationed under the stars in Paris, enjoyed fresh baked pastries in Venice, raced down the slopes of Switzerland on ski’s and traveled the Ryfylke Tourist Route in Norway.  Each piece of pottery, every souvenir dish, ashtray and mug, terrine, and figurine  that I examined took me further and further away from my own little town and it was then that I can honestly say was the only time I’ve ever experienced true love.   They weren’t just a couple.  They were more than just traveling companions.   The story I was able to quietly and peacefully put together in my mind was that two people who were very much in love, were friends, partners, confidants, and lived only for each other in every moment of their time together.  The more I looked at on the shelves, the more their story unfolded.

As time went on and age began to set in,  their travels became  closer to home but not after many years of world travel and luxurious stays.  As a young couple, they were married in California.  They honeymooned in Paris and threw a key in the canal.  Shortly after the honeymoon they relocated from California to Florida, I think it was after an earthquake.    At one point they went to Africa but something went wrong and they didn’t stay long.  They flew back to Europe by way of Germany where they drank beer from steins.

As time moved on, beer turned into wine for her and liqueur for him.  I think he drank much more than she did.  His collection of tumblers was far more extensive than her carafe and glass collection.  I think she was sick.  Not in her mind, but physically.  For this he pampered her and took the best of care of her until the end of her life.  She lived a happy life.  She never needed for anything, only her health, but that wasn’t until later, after many years of marriage.  He probably drover her insane LOL.

It wasn’t until after his passing that I discovered this great love affair.  An affluent couple who really lived life.  They didn’t just go through the motions as so many couples do, they LIVED.

My senses felt alive, I experienced great love, overwhelming joy and in the end, was overcome with the sadness of their parting from this world.  I believe she passed before he did, probably explains the extensive liqueur accessories collection.  Regardless of the way it ended, their life story gave me an insight to something I’m sure I will never experience in my own life and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit with them.  They shared a love that few people ever get to experience.

I took home a souvenir from my travels from California, to Florida, across Europe, down to Africa and back across the United States…  It was made in France and was purchased in Belgium at some point between the mid 1960s to 1970s. I can envision her face lighting up with joy and smiling at her husband as she finds her treasure at Liégeois Sylvain. I know she loved it. She took good care of it.

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I know she’s used it at least once because there was a bit of gravy stuck to the bottom. The inside of it is glazed so it cleaned up real easy. No chips, no stains, no cracks. Only an old gold colored sticker on the base. Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.

For as many times as I have shopped at thrift stores,  this is the first time I have ever experienced someone else’s life through their discarded belongs.  As tragic as their ending may have, their memory has created a moment that will forever live on through my minds eye.

Yeah…  I did sell it on eBay.  The memories can’t be sold though.

A Call To Action: Boycott Mainstream Media

Fair notice to mainstream media. As you continue to force your negativity, your opinions and your false rhetoric down the throats of mainstream America, you’re failing to recognize the obvious fact that the mainstream population is moving away from you.  There is a reason we’ve turned you off and tuned you out.  Your life and your opinions are no more important than the millions of unemployed, under employed, self employed, small American business owners and hard working individuals that populate this country.  There are more of us than there are of you.  It’s time to see yourselves for who you really are.

  1.  Your life is not important and neither is your opinion.  Opinions are like assholes.   The media seems to have a few too many of them.
  2. Journalism and reporting is not subjective.  It’s foundation is objective.
  3. Celebrities do not have an opinion.  We pull your strings, you dance.
  4. News, “reporters” are objects we turn on at 6pm. You tell us facts, and then you go back into your box until tomorrow at the same time, same place.

Get over yourselves.   If I am not looking at your face in the mirror when I brush my teeth in the morning, then your opinion means nothing.  If you don’t understand what that means, and clearly you don’t, it means, we see our own reflection or the reflection of those who are important to us, and those are the only opinions that matter.

I am tired of feeling judged by a “news” entity who doesn’t even know I exist.  I’m tired of you believing that I should be told what I should and shouldn’t think, feel, eat, breathe, live.   You are a select few who have no idea what it’s like to get in MY car and drive to MY job every day.  Here in the REAL WORLD my life is much more important than yours.

When you stop reporting your opinion, I will reconsider adding you to the list of channels I subscribe to.

Until then,  subject line, “remove”.

Tag this:  ego, egocentric, self centered, narcissistic, the elephant in the room.

 

Open Letter to Hollywood and the media

My name is Kirsten Raye. I’m a 49 year old single female (by choice). I am the only person in my extended family to have graduated from college.  Currently I am a sole survivor.  I do not have family.

I studied Liberal Arts at Worcester State College, where I mistakenly crossed Abbie Hoffman’s funeral procession by while parking at the Temple Emanuel.   It was across the street from the school.  I would park there because I couldn’t afford an on campus parking sticker.  I’m only mentioning this because it’s a memory that in irony is coming full circle today.

The reason I chose Worcester State College was because I was a homeless kid and the school offered me a Pell Grant with a special circumstances clause which took me off the streets and put me into a dorm room. The education was a bonus.  I worked full time and studied full time until the date of my graduation.

I was abandoned by my father at 8 years of age, and my mother left when I was 16. A “free” dorm room was the only way to survive with no money, no car, and with no guidance from the adults who allowed me to fall through the cracks of this thing we call a system.  My discovery of the Pell Grant system was not through a counselor or teacher but the result of wanting to overcome the challenge of starting life with a deficit.

The day before I was to graduate college, I dressed in my poverty best and walked into a lawyers office with their help wanted sign in hand. I was applying for an entry level assistant position which I was fully qualified for. The receptionist, who was approximately 65 years old, took one look at me and shook her head “no” and sent me packing before I could even put my foot through the door jam. After spending my entire childhood and teen years surrounded by rejection and mistreatment, it never occurred to me to question the reasons behind her immediate dismissal of me. I simply accepted it and walked out the door.  It wasn’t the first or the last time.

Why am I telling you this? Because in my 30’s I’d finally had enough. I took matters into my own hands and created my own employment opportunity. It was an opportunity that grew 5000% every year for the first 5 years… I was finally off the streets, living comfortably and even had a taste of excess.

November 2008 was when the world began bracing itself for a market crash. It was when my clients stopped paying their invoices. For several months I spent everything I had trying to save my business. My largest client, a fashionista in Manhattan, NY,  lost 50% of everything she had invested with Bernie Madhoff. She and her husband were helping her friends in Boston who lost 100% of everything. Everything I had been tucking away was gone and I’ve never been able to rebuild.

I am living under the threat of homelessness on a day to day basis.   Currently I live in a 14′ X 20′ studio apartment where I routinely go several days at a time without food. I have not been to a doctor, dentist, car repair shop, hair salon, spa, or even a restaurant since losing everything at the bottom of 2009.   These are things you take for granted, and while you are enjoying those things, I’ll continue my fight daily by pounding the pavement in a world that refuses to offer jobs to anyone over 40, especially women, or to anyone who hasn’t worked steadily enough to not have gaps in their resume. What a vicious cycle it is for someone who is so ready, so willing and so able to do more than hustle and hard work to get back on her feet.

In the interim, while I continue to try and find my way as if I’m 19 years old again, there’s always ebay (Amazon, Etsy, Catawiki, Marketplace). I can sacrifice food and take what little I had and instead of eating,  invest it into a new, home based, micro business. Certainly worth it, right?  I’ll start out small, rebuild it one day at a time, one product at a time, one wish and one stroke of luck at a time.

Unfortunately, (Whoopie Goldberg can vouch for me) the majority of the products you’ll find on eBay are either coming directly from China and being sold to you directly from the manufacturing plant or by domestic based Chinese manufacturers who were relocated to the United States at no cost, at the hands of our own government and our largest most wealthy corporations. They were given free financial backing, free manufacturing equipment, free warehousing and office space, free exportation via the U.S. tax payers and the USPS who donates $350 million annually to this, “developing country” we call China. Now that China is tapped, our financially powerful leaders are looking at handing the same opportunity to the citizens of Korea, India, Mexico and Nigeria. Everyone gets a dream and a hand up but American citizens.  You’ll never see my items as you search eBay.  I have to few items to have a presence and not enough support to advertise to create a presence.  There’s also a search engine which favors the flavor of Mandarin.

I’m pretty sure that I would not have time to be writing this lengthy open letter to you if I were given this same opportunity.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be starving for days at a time and feeling so angered by your ignorance of what it’s like to live on Main Street and not inside the bubble you don’t seem to be very thankful for.

You say you want to leave the United States because it’s frightening that Donald Trump has been elected president… and refuse to acknowledge that the hurting population who didn’t vote for the woman who created the laws and treaties that dictate the situation I described above and am forced to fight to survive, 16 to 18 hours a day, on an empty stomach and a prayer are finding hope in the promise of a renegotiation that will more than likely continue to leave American citizens at a disadvantage.  No, we don’t have blind faith, we have pain.

I am a sole survivor. I have no family to catch me with a net when I fall. I am out of resources in spite of my 16 to 18 hour a day fight to make that sale and build that business.  I’m swimming against the current trying to build/rebuild a business where the game is rigged against me.  My own government will not allow me the same opportunity (described above) and no matter how hard I’ve worked, can work, will work and no matter how capable I prove I am and can continue to prove I am, and no matter how much fight I have in me, it will never be realized.

If you choose to move to Canada, please consider this;  while you’re there under the facade that you’re making some kind of sacrifice, rather than committing career suicide by speaking on issues you have no authority to speak on, come walk in my shoes, and the millions of others like me and be willing to REALLY make a sacrifice because it would mean suffering.  Take off that white suit because suffrage has a completely different meaning from where I’m sitting.

Tonight I am having Saltine crackers and a glass of water for dinner. My $198.96 in ebay sales this month means that I will more than likely not be able to see your response to this letter as I pack up and contemplate where I go from here, but I am still inviting you to come sit with me and look me in the eyes as you step outside of your bubble and learn (or be reintroduced to) what it’s really like to be living as an American citizen in 2016.  I’m tired of you whining about not having the continued privilege of trampling over the people who pay your wages, the masses.

Never impose your language on people you wish to reach — Abbie Hoffman

 

Thank you for your time and lack of consideration,
KirstenRaye

When decorum is repression, the only dignity free men have is to speak out — Abbie Hoffman

 

Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler, Cher, Jon Stewart, Lena Dunham, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Raven-Symone, Keegan-Michael Key, Ne-Yo, Samuel L. Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Bryan Cranston, Madonna, Rosie Odonnell, Ellen Degeneres, Hillary Clinton, Katy Parry, Fox News, CNN, SNL & cast, Alec Baldwin… and every person who has never walked in my shoes.

I learned about fashion in a most unconventional way. Part I

My name is Kirsten Raye and I learned about fashion when I learned to become an eBay seller.   As unconventional as that seems, I am thankful for the experience because it’s been the most practical decision I have ever made as an adult.   It saved my life.

I’m not going to say that it hasn’t been tough because it has, but what I can tell you is that selling brown suede Chanel shoes, Burberry Nova Check sunglass cases, vintage alligator Kelly bags, and silk Leopard print St. John dresses (and St. John Knits) has been much easier than the alternative.  People like me don’t have many of those.

If you subscribe to my blog I will share the rest of my story with you.

I’ve been an eBay clothing seller since the summer of 2001.  I have a couple of different selling accounts because I like to be consistent with the types of items I list.  Here is my fashion selling account

You can look. Really! Come on in and browse, send me a note of “hello” and tell me what you think of my blog, my auctions, my outspoken opinions… be friendly 🙂